Mind and Mood
After a Cardiovascular Event

About 50% of patients hospitalized with coronary artery disease have some depressive symptoms. Up to 20% develop major depression. Depression may be even more common in survivors of strokes. A review of studies found that 15% of patients developed post-traumatic stress disorder after a heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest, or cardiac surgery. People hospitalized or undergoing surgery for heart conditions are 2-5 times more likely than average to die or suffer further cardiovascular events in the following year if they have symptoms of depression at the time of hospitalization. In fact, recurrence of cardiovascular events is more closely linked to depression than to high cholesterol, smoking, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
In one recent three-year study, depression doubled the risk of recurrent cardiac events, but anxiety tripled the risk. Persons with a personality with habits of gloom, worry, pessimism, lack of self-assurance, and mild to moderate depression (dysthymia), are nearly three times as likely to die or have a second heart attack.

“I have learned that success is to be

measured not so much by the position

that one has reached in life as by the

obstacles which he has overcome.”

Booker T. Washington